“you are mothering…”

We don’t.

I don’t. You don’t. The mom next door doesn’t. The mom at the preschool class with the super cool treats with handmade decorations doesn’t. The mom in the Starbucks (excellent choice) line in front of you doesn’t. The mom at church, work, school, grocery store, doctor’s office, next door, driving to baseball, and all the other moms – they just don’t get it all done.

And it’s okay.

I know, you’re probably looking at that to-do list (or not if you’re simply anti to-do lists) and right now a million things are running through your brain. I know even writing that triggered a list that raced through my head – move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, fold the towels that got dumped out of the dryer and not folded, finish cleaning the kitchen, make sure you work on multiplication facts, call to check on test times, call the dentist and set up cleanings (weren’t we just there?), call the doctor and set up a recheck, get groceries, respond to emails, write post, help with science report, find something for dinner, wipe down fridge interior, go get groceries, don’t forget gluten free bread, and on and on – all of that? All I had to do was think of a list and those are the things that immediately came into my mind.

And then, then the list of everything I should have done will start to pester me. I should have read one more book, should have played longer, should have helped them clean their room, should have, should have, should have.

The truth? You and I and all the moms in the world just don’t ever get it all done.

We’re a life in motion.

A life where there are real hurdles, real bumps, real moments where we want to just throw our hands in the air and say enough. Or maybe at least ask for a fifty second pause. A mom time out, perhaps?

But, do you want to know truth?

You really do get it all done.

You get done what you can do and you get up in the morning and you keep going in a world where the list will never ever end. That’s the thing about motherhood and life – the list is like this never ending ladder of things to constantly keep doing. You think you made it to the top rung and then there’s always just one more thing you could be doing. One more after one more after one more.

Do you know that right now even if you feel like you’re flailing just trying to keep your head above water because you have that eight week colicky baby and a three year old and you’re house isn’t perfectly put back together that you’re getting it all done.

Do you know that when you drop off the little one at daycare who cries when you leave and you back out of the driveway and spill just a bit of that fabulous Starbucks coffee on your clean shirt and you answer emails and think about what you’re going to make for dinner that you’re getting it all done?

Do you know that when you sit outside a bedroom door and talk with your teen about really hard stuff and love of them in the midst and stay up late and forget about folding the towels on the floor but instead just sit and listen that you are getting it all done?

You are mothering.

It’s not about a never ending nebulous to-do list of things.

It’s about being real. Being a mother. Putting one foot in front of the other and marching forward even though sometimes it feels like you’re simply treading water.

You are getting up. You are making breakfast for your family. Taking care of them. Working or staying at home or working at home. Cleaning up. Doing laundry. Giving kisses and hugs when needed. Crying in the bathroom when you’re overwhelmed and then splashing water on your face. Buttering sandwiches. Making beds (maybe). Matching socks. Looking littles in the eye and telling them you’re the best. Trying to figure out Halloween costumes the night before (that’s me today). Giving hugs. Sharing your sandwich. Budgeting in a world where you wish you could just have a budget. Picking up the same toy again and again. Feeding babies. You’re moving.

You are moving.

Motherhood is a to-do list in constant motion.

Getting it all done doesn’t mean having a list at the end of the day with every single thing checked off. Getting it all done means doing exactly what you’ve been doing since the day you became blessed to be a mother. It means making mistakes and yet trying again. It means fighting for your family. It means smiling with tears in your eyes. It’s reading books over and over again. It’s being okay with rerunnig the wash cycle because you forgot to move it. It’s in learning to give yourself grace and the mothers all around you grace.

It’s looking at the ambiguous never ending ladder of things that we think we should could forgot to need to be doing and saying – I am enough.

I am enough when I love my kids. When I fight for them. When I do my normal every day things that often feel like they don’t mean much but in the scheme of life are the moments that will matter. I am enough even when I make mistakes and try again. I am enough when my life isn’t perfect. I am enough when we have the same dinner again and again. I am enough even when I feel so often like I’m out of breath. I am enough when I am running late. I am enough when I stay up late sitting on the floor in my toddlers room because he won’t go to sleep. I am enough.


Moms get it all done every single day.

One thing. One hug. One smile. One more pulling up of the boot straps. One more fight for right. One more reminder of grace. One more not comparing my life to the mom next doors life and using that to judge getting it all done. One more listening to the same knock knock joke and chuckling again moment in life. One more moment simply being a mom.

So if you’re asked how you get it all done every single day you can answer that’s just what moms do.

Today’s photos? All real life live from the instagram feed. Find me there at finding_joy
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.

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20 Responses to ““you are mothering…””

  1. October 30, 2013

    ali @ an ordinary mom Reply

    Ah, yes, some days the list is so intimidating, and I get to feeling desperately behind, and then my baby will cup my cheeks in his hands and lean in to slobbery kiss my face, my toddler will ask me to watch her dance (again), when I look around at the others and all that they’re doing (and sometimes not doing), and He gently reminds me of this, that I am getting it all done. (It’s just a different kind of ‘all’ than I started out intending, but it’s a better ‘all’, it’s the right ‘all’!)

    Bless you, Rachel!

  2. October 30, 2013

    Jennifer Reply

    That was so incredible. I almost cried reading it because it is so true. I also homeschool my kids so I’m overwhelmed everyday. Sometimes you need someone to tell you it’s okay and just breathe. You are a amazing person. Thank you for that.

  3. October 30, 2013

    Elizabeth Reply

    I really needed to read this today! Thank you so much for this post. We can all use the reminder that what we do on a daily basis IS important and we do matter and we do it all for our families and we are doing OK!

  4. October 30, 2013

    Sydney Steiner Reply

    This was really great to read this morning. Thank you for the wonderful pick me up. Happy tears. 😉

  5. October 30, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I could’ve cried but one eye open sleepy”! Sure 2 ur old would find something to do so I better not” Thanks for this. Need to stop saying forget it and do more of what I can!

  6. October 30, 2013

    Angie Reply

    Good stuff. Thanks for getting this out into the world. We are enough and we are getting it done. I love being a mom so much, and sometimes that never ending to-do list gets to me. Thanks for fighting off that pressure.

  7. October 30, 2013

    Rachel E. Reply

    You got it right again. God truly blessed you with the ability to reach moms through your own experience. Your words touch me where they are meant to. You help me see what I do may be crazy, but it works.

    God Bless Rachel

  8. October 30, 2013

    Liane Reply

    If ever I needed to read this then it is today. My four year old has been tired and moody all day (thanks to the clock change!) my 3 month old is colicky/reflux/moody! my living room floor hasn’t seen a vacuum in 3 days, my laundry pile is growing at a rapid rate, I have a cold, my husband has been in bed for three days with the same cold.. I have spent the whole day feeling like I am drowning in that to-do list..

    “Motherhood is a to-do list in constant motion” – I’m going to write this down and stick it on my kitchen wall so I never forget..

    Thank you x

  9. October 30, 2013

    Chrissy Reply

    I had to stop reading it at work because I could feel myself tearing up. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I know I will be checking your blog over and over in a few more months when I have my 2nd and also dealing with a 3 year old.

  10. October 31, 2013

    Melanie Levy Reply

    This is such an important post to read. I learned this mothering lesson a year or so ago. It’s almost liberating, and empathetic. Thank you for continually giving mothers permission settle into their very own mothering experiences. Learning not to compare themselves to others.

  11. October 31, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Motherhood is a to do list in constant motion…I like that!
    Psalms 40:1-4a I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust…
    My email address

  12. October 31, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thanks for yet another wonderful post that comes at just the right time. You have blessed me with your writing and I want to let you know that I appreciate reading your blog.

  13. October 31, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you SO much! Wish I could pin this to share with all my mom friends!

  14. October 31, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    My sister sent this to me and as I sat at my desk reading it I burst into tears. As a working mother in a demanding job with two small kids, AND trying to work an NA program, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to “get it all done”. It was refreshing to hear that others feel that way too. 🙂

  15. November 1, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you! Something we all need to hear now and again!

  16. November 1, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Always lifting up prayer!
    Psalms 40:5, 11, 13 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (11) Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. (13) Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.

  17. February 12, 2014

    Hand Full of Blessings Reply

    […] have been loving Rachel’s posts the last couple months and I made this after reading one of them one day and really needing and appreciating the encouragement she […]

  18. August 24, 2014

    Tricia Reply

    We’re a life in motion – I love that line. So true and it resonates with me so deeply. It’s exactly how I feel and no, I don’t get it all done. But yes, at the same time I do.

  19. August 25, 2014

    Angela Reply

    Ah, the comment about sitting up late on the floor in your toddlers room because he won’t sleep–that has been me so many times the last couple of months (or up in the middle of the night because who needs to sleep at 3am and if I don’t sit there he will get up again…). It’s such a relief to know it’s not just me. Thanks for keeping on going each day and reminding us to do the same <3

  20. August 26, 2014

    Susan Hansen Reply

    Here’s my perspective on motherhood, looking back as a grandmother upon my years of mothering: you are doing right now the most important work you will ever do.

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